Resumes mean so much to hiring managers. It’s your first introduction to a prospective employer and it’s how you differentiate yourself. But what separates the bad resumes from the good ones?

The best resumes avoid abbreviations. Abbreviations are not professional nor are they accepted. Nothing makes HR managers cringe more than seeing sentences like the following: “Answered the phone and went 2 C clients” (yes, I truly have seen this). It may be the information age but this is not a text message so don’t treat it as such.

Giving up too much personal information is a no-no. You should leave off anything related to hobbies or interests that are not related to the job. Do not include your weight and height unless you’re applying for a position as a gym trainer. If it’s not related to the job in any way, do not include it on your resume. Leave out your illnesses or why you took off 2 years to care for a dying parent. As hard as that may have been, it will count against you.

The best resumes are the best because they’re not being used as an art canvas. If you try to stand out by having large graphics on your resume it’s a bad move, because this will give you an unprofessional and amateurish looking resume. Your prospective employer only wants to see your skills, your duties and achievements. You’re not going to get anywhere by having a Word Art picture of a snail on your resume.

Keep the negativity to yourself. The best resumes are neutral in tone or highlight the best attributes of the applicant. But, if you have information on your resume that is negative, such as, leaving your previous employer because you did not like the boss, just keep that part to yourself. Do not try to explain the situation on your resume. That’s an impossible battle that you should not fight. Your resume’s job is to sell and promote you. So don’t eliminate yourself because you were negative.

Good resumes include dates. Do not make an HR manager have to guess. This kills your resume on the spot. You have to include dates. What years were you in college, did you attend graduate school or did you graduate from a trade school? How long have you been working at your current position? Do not make the hiring manager have to ask questions about your resume. The second they have to guess, your resume is going straight to the trash. Make sure your resume flows easily and there are no date gaps. If you took a year off to go travel or to go back to school, include this on your resume.

Bad resumes do not highlight achievements. Many people will fill their resumes with irrelevant information, but they leave off the most important part of the resume – focusing on their achievements. You want to stand out from other applicants, so how can you do that if you do not showcase what you’ve done. Explaining your past accomplishments means that the HR manager can see what you’ve done and know how you can fill their need. If you have the abilities, you need to showcase them on your resume.

Related posts:

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  3. Cover Letter Tips for Success
  4. Writing Your Resume – Are You Up to the Challenge?
  5. How to Make Your Cover Letter Unique

4 Responses

12.07.11

Great tips Ava. Thank you for addressing using abbreviations on a resume. Not everybody understands industry-specifice abbreviations, so your best bet is not to use them at all, unless absolutely necessary.

Ruby

12.07.11

Thanks for the comment, Ruby!

~ Ava

[...] their particular needs. If you’re applying for an accounting job, then you wouldn’t need to showcase your creative writing talents on your resume. You would need to show that you have the skills [...]

[...] job seekers do not want to overstate their accomplishments or qualifications or seem boastful, so they paint a picture to prospective employers that they are [...]

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